Why skiing is the perfect family holiday!
What makes a great family holiday? We think it’s the chance to do something different together as a family, whether that’s something new or sharing an experience you love with your children.
The great thing about skiing together as a family is that it’ll be different each time; as you explore different resorts, as your children’s skiing confidence develops, as they grow up and start overtaking you (or maybe they did that from the start!).
It also ticks a whole load of boxes - it's active, it's outdoors, it's exhilarating, it's challenging... Sharing your love of skiing or discovering it together as a family provides that much sought-after quality time and will give you the perfect excuse to get together for holidays long after they’ve left home.
Why choose the French Alps?
We love everything the French Alps has to offer from the huge interconnecting ski areas (France has 7 of the top 10 linked ski areas in the world!) and the great lift infrastructure meaning you can make the most of your skiing time, to the brilliant and highly-qualified ESF instructors (the ESF is the French Ski School, children can have lessons from as young as three in some resorts).
And there’s so much more than just skiing on offer; from catching a local ice hockey match, snow-shoeing excursions and dog sledding to sampling the local cuisine - read more alternative ideas!
The best resorts for families - our recommendations
Remember to check out both UK and French School Holiday dates when deciding when to travel.
Top Family Ski Resort: La Rosière
A Famille Plus Montagne awarded resort
A friendly resort in a very attractive setting: La Rosière is located in the heart of the Haute Tarentaise, set in a forest on the Italian border, close to Vanoise National Park. Sunny and south facing, it offers panoramic views over the Isere valley to Les Arcs and La Plagne. There's some exciting developments in the ski area for 2018/19.
For those who want childcare, ‘Les Galopins’ is the resort's kid’s club for children from 18 months to 13 years old. On offer is a range of indoor and outdoor games, sledging, arts and crafts, etc. with every activity tailored to your child’s age.
Other benefits include: a free lift pass for under 5s, a gentle nursery slope for youngsters taking to the snow for the first time, supermarket home delivery service, and every Sunday the Tourist office of La Rosière will welcome you to the ice bar with hot mulled wine or a hot chocolate and inform you of their week’s activities and events.
Accommodation: Les Cimes Blanches in La Rosière is a luxury ski residence located in the Quartier des Eucherts area, close to the ski slopes offering wonderful panoramic views. 4-star Le Lodge Hemera is only 150m from the slopes and the luxury Chalet Les Marmottons apartments are another of our Directors' Choice properties. Les Balcons de La Rosière in La Rosière is located right on the slopes (Eucherts) to provide the opportunity for doorstep skiing.
Shortest driving distance from UK: Avoriaz
Voted 'Best Family Resort' in 2012 & 2013 at the World Snow Awards
Avoriaz, in the Northern French Alps, is ideally situated at 1800m right in the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski area, just 560 miles from Calais (8h20m approx.). This charming purpose-built car-free ski resort uses horse-drawn sleighs and snow-cats to replace cars, transporting people and luggage to and from car parks as well as accommodation (payable locally).
Avoriaz is 100% ski-in/ski-out and the fully pedestrianised streets make it really easy to get around on foot, ski or sledge in complete safety. Possibly the most modern and distinctive ski resort in the Portes du Soleil, due to its bold and dynamic architecture and dramatic cliff-top location.
Benefits include: the ‘Village des Enfants’ learning zone, free lift passes for children under 5, snow sculpture competitions, the ‘Aquariaz’ water-park, and the Christmas light show and Snow Carnival which lasts for five weeks!
Accommodation: L'Amara in Avoriaz is a recently built luxury ski residence located at 1800m on the edge of Avoriaz, close to the La Falaise district. It benefits from a ski-in/ski-out position.
Best Ski in/Ski out Resort for Families: Arc 1950
Awarded the P'tits Montagnards label
Les Arcs is found in the Savoie region of France, in the Northern French Alps, on the edge of the Vanoise National Park. Les Arcs ski area is made up of 4 ski resorts: Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000 - each a modern, purpose-built resort developed with superb winter skiing and enjoyment in mind. Arc 1950 is a unique, ski in/ski out, car-free-resort situated at the heart of a 300-year-old Swiss stone pine forest with incredible skiing opportunities for all abilities.
If you're looking for childcare, the Cariboo Club offers complete care for children between 3 and 13 years old. Activities include igloo building, snowshoeing, snowman construction, snowball battles, sledging races, snow golfing, patisserie workshop, etc. For children between 9 months and 3 years, there’s the Petit Criboo Creche offering collage workshops, snowman building, agility course, walks, pastry workshop and painting.
Accommodation: Le Village residence is located in the heart of the Village Arc 1950 (Les Arcs), the Paradiski ski in/ski out car-free resort, the architecture was inspired by the finest Savoyard tradition.
Most Affordable Family Ski Resort: Les Menuires
Winner of 'Family Resort of the Year' at the World Snow Awards 2015
The purpose-built ski resort of Les Menuires is situated at 1850m in the Belleville Valley within the Les 3 Vallées ski area. Sitting on the west facing slope of the valley, Les Menuires is lucky enough to get the sun all day long. The resort offers tailor-made family entertainment and activities to suit all ages and is one of the more affordable ski resorts within Les 3 Vallées.
The ESF Ski School Piou-Piou offers a nursery for children aged from 3 months to 2 ½ years old, and two Mini Clubs for children aged 2 ½ – 5 years old. They organise activities such as fun in the snow, snowshoe walks, tobogganing, walks and games.
Other family-friendly attractions include the ‘Sledging Castle’, ‘Walibi Gliss’, 4km toboggan run, ‘Mini-KL’ slalom run, ‘BK Park’, the trampolines and bouncy castles of the ‘Fun Park’, a cinema, Aqua Spa, and the ‘Boule de Notes Festival’ of music and food for little ones.
Accommodation: 4-star Les Clarines apartments are superbly located just 100m from the slopes. Le Hameau de la Sapiniere (formally known as Village Montagnettes) in the Reberty area of Les Menuires is composed of a small group of chalets creating a traditional small mountain hamlet with newly refurbished apartments.
Ski Resort with the Most Activities: Val Thorens
Awarded ‘World’s Best Ski Resort’ in 2013 & 2014 and ‘France’s Best Ski Resort’ in 2013 & 2014, by World Snow Awards. Also, awarded the ‘Family Plus Mountain Resort’ label.
The ‘highest resort in Europe’, nestled in Les 3 Vallees with excellent skiing, a great range of accommodation, and activities for all. Val Thorens is a gateway to the amazing 600km slopes in Les 3 Vallees and boasts stunning views over 1000 summits in The Alps.
Val Thorens has a brilliant 7500m2 indoor sports centre with swimming pools, hot tubs, steam room, saunas, river showers, body and facial treatments, sun beds, hydro-massage beds. It also has fitness-room with a full range of machines, tennis, squash, badminton, Ping-Pong, volleyball, football, basketball, numerous weekly tournaments. For the kids, an amazing 600m2 ‘Fun Park’ with trampolines, bouncy castles, ball-pools and soft-play areas – guaranteeing hours of fun and worn out children!
Other benefits include the 6km toboggan run, snow mountain biking, a bowling alley, torch-lit descents and an great ESF (French ski school).
Accommodation: As well as an indoor pool, the luxury Le Hameau du Kashmir residence offers ski-in/ski-out possibilities (snow and ski level dependent). With its southern exposure, the residence Le Chalet de la Lombarde enjoys the maximum amount of sunshine and glorious uninterrupted view of the surrounding mountains.